Rene’s Reasons for Being a Member of the Cathedral
God has a way of interfering in my life at the most opportune times. There was the time when God brought me back into the church by using my older son’s desire to be confirmed. Another time God, knowing that I would need support, set me down in a parish where there were three women who had already walked the path I was about to walk. However, those are stories for another time; this story is about me and the Cathedral.
In 2001 the parish in which I had worshipped and served for 27 years decided to close. We were few in number, many of us were aging, and it was felt that it was poor stewardship to continue to maintain two buildings (our parish hall was a block from the church). At a special congregational meeting the consensus was to close our doors on June 2, 2002. I decided that when that time came I would hang my spiritual hat in the south end of Winnipeg, in a parish where I had many friends. Then God interfered and set me on another course.
In September, 2001, the Cathedral hired me to work part-time for the Dean (my business card indicated that I was “Co-ordinator of Parish Ministries”, but it should have read “Dean’s Gopher/Other Duties as Assigned”). My own priest suggested that I worship twice a month at the Cathedral, to get to know the people I would be serving. By the time my former parish closed I had fallen in love with the Cathedral, its congregation, its history, its worship style, everything about it, and my two Sundays a month became every Sunday of the month. I felt I had come home.
We are a beautiful blend of ethnicities, gender orientations, ages, income brackets, gifts and abilities. At St. John’s the gifts and talents of parishioners are discerned and used to serve God and God’s people. I have never been part of a congregation so accepting, and so loving (I can’t think of another parish where one gets hugged just for showing up on a Sunday morning!). We are open to possibilities. (Ours was the first parish in Canada to webcast the annual Trinity Institute conference, to appoint a Lutheran Dean, and one of our major ministries is to support the work of the second largest refugee staging program in Canada, Hospitality House.) There is genuine caring for one another in this parish; here, joys are doubled because everyone shares in them, troubles are halved because everyone helps to carry the burden. We are a family!
My grandmother used to say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” In my case, God not only laughs, He interferes, and changes those plans. That, my friends, is how I wound up in a north end parish rather than a south end parish! Thanks be to God.